SOUTH MIAMI (CBSMiami) – New surveillance tape obtained by CBS4 captures a well-dressed woman who steals $26,000 worth of diamond jewelry from a South Miami store and who authorities believe may have struck other businesses before.
South Miami Police Sgt. Henry Guzman says he is alarmed and is asking for the public’s help “so it doesn’t again through Miami-Dade County.”
The victim feels the same way.
“I feel horrible. We love everyone who comes in here. We treat them with respect. This is awful. This is awful what she did,” said Minal Chugani, the co-owner of the Bhoom Shanti store at 5350 Sunset Drive.
In an exclusive interview with CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, Chugani said it was just before noon on Tuesday, December 16th when the thief sauntered in to her store and spent 45 minutes browsing through an open display of jewelry. Multiple camera angles discovered that the woman was able to steal most of the items by crouching down beneath one of the tables and placing items in to her purse.
The theft was not discovered until the following morning when the owners did an inventory. They are missing a diamond rose cut bracelet, two bangles and a tennis bracelet. The bracelets are 18 karat gold and are white and yellow.
“I’d like to see her caught and I’d like to get my pieces back,” Chugani told D’Oench. “She was very professional. At one point you see on the video that she is looking at the cameras so I believe she knew there were cameras. She was so slick the way she did it.”
She said, “Usually before we had small thefts before and I called them but I have never called the cops on them until this one. I think she deserves jail time. I hope that someone recognizes her and brings her information to us so we can get something out of her.”
Clerk Lilian Calvo was also working at the store during the theft and said, “The woman was calm. She never looked nervous and she really knows how to operate. This was terrible for us. We always welcome all of our customers and what she did to us is very bad for small business.”
Guzman said the woman took advantage of the employees’ distraction inside the store.
“She goes in and sees the customers that are already shopping and uses them as blocks,” said Guzman. “As the customers are asking about jewelry, she positions herself in different locations and as you see on the video she is actually dropping down with her purse at one point.”
“We’ve been able to get very clear video and a pretty clear picture on the actual subject,” said Guzman. “We just need the public’s help to identify the individual so it doesn’t happen throughout Dade County.”
Guzaman said the woman is between 45 and 50 years old, is 5’5’ to 5’7” tall and between 130 and 140 pounds and has shot brown hair.
Guzman said his department had circulated a “need to identity” BOLO or be-on-the-lookout bulletin for the “Grand Theft subject.”
If anyone can identify the thief, they should contact South Miami Police Detective King at (305) 663-6304 or (305) 609-7053 or call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).
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